Video Games And Divorce

First-off, I’d like to freely admit that I can’t stand MMOs. I tried World of Warcraft once with a friend of mine (I had a 10-day trial key) and got so incredibly bored that I stopped playing before my 10 days were up. That being said, I recognize that some people (like the friend I tried it with) get real enjoyment out of video games. I recently came across this story on Kotaku that I thought I’d share with everyone to highlight incorrect stereotypes surrounding video games (especially MMOs).

Playing World of Warcraft helped this now-single mother and her son through a divorce and also helped mother and son understand each other better. This is one of the best uses for video games that I’ve seen in a long time!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alex Rich
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 16:01:53

    I find this article to be very heartwarming and interesting. Who would have thought that a game like world of war craft could mend the deep wounds created by something as serious and upsetting as divorce. Up until this point in class we have yet to explore the notion that video games can be a means of self-expression and that video games can be used as a communication tool for individuals regarding non-video game related topics. Who would have thought that leading a world of war craft attack on a village could help a son communicate to his mother things that he could not with his own words. That being said, I think the main point people are trying to make when they say that video games, and games like world of war craft in particular, are anti-social is still valid. Although in this instance the mother and her son were playing this game together, 99% of the time gamers are playing theses games they are alone and are not involved in any form of verbal or non-verbal communication with others. Moreover, often times gamers become obsessed with these games which causes them to go on gaming binges and leads to complete social isolation which can be very detrimental. Going forward, I would be curious to see if video games are applied to other therapeutic situations, such as this one, and if there are certain video game elements and qualities that make them ideal for facilitating healing and other types of therapy.

    Word Count: 252


    • Craig Belpedio
      Jan 24, 2011 @ 20:52:08

      I’m not sure if you’re still quoting statistics when you say “99% of the time gamers are playing theses games they are alone and are not involved in any form of verbal or non-verbal communication with others” or if you’re citing personal opinion, but I’d vehemently disagree. I unfortunately don’t have any statistics, just personal anecdotes, but I know whenever I play games I have at least 2 friends online and in the same Xbox Live Party so we can chat and bullshit about anything. I also have a friend who’s pretty big into WoW and she is constantly using Vent (Ventrilo) to talk to her friends and guildmates. She’s also met a bunch of people on WoW, including people from Australia, that she probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

      Granted, there are some times when I just play games alone, but the large majority of the time there are people in the same room with me or at least talking in my ear through a headset.


  2. mvkramer
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 17:39:54

    For more about WoW and marriage/divorce/relationships of all kinds I recommend the documentary Second Skin, which is absolutely fascinating. Bonus: it can be watched at the Askwith Media Center on the 2nd floor of Shapiro!


  3. Brad Millman
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 20:30:52

    I find this article partciularly interesting while reading the book for next week. One of the main arguments of video games skeptics is that they cannot simulate all real life situations.

    Could this be a gateway to a simulation for these types of situations? Maybe a way to help kids cope with major loss in their lives?


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